Theatre2Film Program Cultivates Success with New Feature Film

Theatre2Film and its artful student storytellers are once again heading to the Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF). This year’s festival, scheduled for July 31-August 5, will feature projects that showcase the work of dozens of MSU faculty and students. 

Among this work is the Theatre2Film project, Crandie’s, a comedy about a talented chef who makes a fresh start at a Michigan diner until she is faced with the appearance of a past rival from her days in New York. 

Theatre2Film is a large-scale, collaborative project where students take an original student play and adapt it for the screen. Crandie’s will be Theatre2Film’s fourth feature-length production to debut at the TCFF. The film was entirely written, produced, directed and acted by students from across Michigan State University, including students from ComArtSci and the College of Arts & Letters.

Filmmaking Bootcamp

Camisha McClair, a junior Media and Information major, is the post-production supervisor as well as one of the writers and editors of Crandie’s. She became involved in Theatre2Film her sophomore year.

“Theatre2Film was filmmaking bootcamp for me,” said McClair. “I was invited to work on set as a PA and boom operator with no prior experience on set, or even in media and information. I fell in love with filmmaking and changed my major to it. I've been a part of the program ever since.”

As the post-production supervisor, McClair assembled and oversaw the post-production team, scheduled deadlines and communicated with the producers. As one of three lead editors, McClair also worked with a host of post audio recordists, audio mixers, composers, colorists and other team members to take a mountain of footage and craft it into a coherent feature film.

“I've met so many talented people on these sets, and my best friends are made up of the people I met on last year's film,” said McClair. “Being on set with someone for so long, you get to know them and yourself, and I wouldn't give up my Theatre2Film experiences for the world.”

Large-Scale Collaboration

Crandie’s cast member and sophomore Theatre major Ejiro Enaj played A'janae, an ambitious and no-nonsense hostess. Enaj saw Theatre2Film as an opportunity to adapt her stage experience for the screen. She and her fellow actors were given the opportunity to participate in the pre-production of the film by giving input on their characters.

“There aren't many programs like this that provide opportunities for ComArtSci and Theatre majors to collaborate on such a large scale,” said Enaj. “It's a true honor to see something that you worked on be screened in front of friends and strangers. Overall, it's a gratifying feeling!”

Crandie’s debut will be preceded by I’m with the Band, a Theatre2Film TV pilot set in 1979 that tells the story of MOIST, an all-male rock band that is touring small-town bars in Michigan and is thrown into chaos when their lead singer quits mid-tour and they struggle to replace him. When faced with a crisis in Hell, Michigan, the band meets a talented female with an amazing voice and adopts her as their lead singer. 

No matter the project, one thing is clear—these dedicated and talented storytellers have earned their spot at this year’s TCFF.

Catch Crandie’s on Wednesday, August 1, at noon at Old Town Playhouse, 148 E. Eighth Street, Traverse City. A full list of student film screenings is available on the MSU@TCFF web page.

By Kristina Pierson